The Lemon Twigs debut album Do Hollywood is already a year old, but the nostalgic mood Brian D’addario and Michael D’Addario create make in our millennial present covers you like a daydream. Taking cue from 60s baroque pop and 70s electric guitars, each song brings a familiar yet distant sound in our mind. As we ponder of lost love or where we stand in life at that moment, the melodies drift in and out, like a wind lazing on a summer afternoon.
Many of his greatest songs are remembered as that -songs or singles- but can we really forget about his first solo hit album, Off The Wall? The confluence of catchy grooves and falsetto disco oohs and ahss came from the collaboration of two greats, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, sitting in a Los Angeles studio. I have been listening to this album over and over, like a mantra much needed after the hassle of work and responsibility. With lyrics like “When the world is on your shoulder/ Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down” because after the routine work of your desk, “living crazy is the only way.”
Usually, I hate walking to places over the summer -especially work. Gasping for breath, I have to slow down my pace to avoid the sweat. However, this summer, listening to Drugdealer’s The End of Comedy (2016), added a welcomed strut to my steps. The bouncy melodies of the opening track “Theme of Rockaway” meshed so well with my vision of open wide streets as I walked toward downtown Los Angeles. Soft and playful -some have called it whimsical- Michael Collins writes carefree lyrics that make you feel good. And it’s not only the lyrics. This pop folksy album truly throws back to late 60s folk pop of “Mellow Yellow” (just take a look at the art cover). Then, there is the more dramatic side of the album; the one with the piano ballads in minor keys. I hear these songs as I walk along the bright city lights, fast cars passing by but a quiet empty street. More noir. More Los Angeles. Still makes you feel good.
Band name after band name, A.B. Quintanilla has gone through music groups as he does through socks. Gaining renown as a Grammy winner for songwriting the Latin hit “Amor Prohibido” for his sister Selena, A.B. Quintanilla has stayed in the music business taking various roles in the music industry. In the years following his sister’s tragic death, Quintanilla has had his share of hits in the Latin Billboard. Today, he resurfaces with his new group, Elektro Kumbia, debuting Kumbia Shots. Though the not the crossover hit of the summer (think “Despacito”), the group’s single “Pina Colada Shot” is a remarkable array of traditional Latino cumbia dance music with a modern twist. It’s modern in its blend of familiar rhythms, more fast paced, with subtle electronic sounds. It’s the song you want to hear at the beach this summer. It’s the song that you should play at the party, if “Despacito” has gotten you annoyed, or if Cumbia has been your secret music love. Alfonso and Zuriel Ramirez and Ramon Vargas take lead vocals, with Quintanilla doing his thing in the background. Their vocals add on to the exuberant youth and energy as the congos and drums play on and on. What else could you want this summer?